Mercedes "could" beat Porsche 'Ring record

Top brass confident that new Project One could upstage 919 Evo

27 September 2018 - 14:11 By Denis Droppa
The record-breaking Porsche 919 Evo
The record-breaking Porsche 919 Evo
Image: Porsche AG

Mercedes-AMG insists its Project One road car could be even quicker than the modified Porsche Le Mans racer that destroyed the Nurburgring outright lap record earlier in 2018.

It is not considering a record run of its own, but Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers believes his Project One could be a match for the Porsche at the track that means the most to his Stuttgart rival.

"I saw the lap record run on video and it was impressive," Moers admitted. "Could we beat the Porsche ‘Ring time? We could, probably. It would be close, but I think we could."

While the Porsche 919 Evo averaged 238km/h on its blistering lap of the ‘Ring with Timo Bernhard at the wheel and stretched its legs up to 369km/h, it was no production car. Nor did Porsche claim it was. The 919 Evo was pitched as a "tribute" car to salute its Le Mans success, but the Project One is planned to be a road car riddled with hybrid F1 technology.

The 919 Hybrid Evo sets a new all-time record lap at the Nürburgring, “Nordschleife”. Watch the complete on-board record lap by Timo Bernhard.

Porsche has denied that the pending arrival of the Project One and its Red Bull-Aston Martin rival, the Valkyrie, prompted it to defend Stefan Bellof’s 6:11.13 record from 1983. Sources have insisted even Porsche family members and board members didn’t want the 919 Evo lap record run to eclipse its beloved Bellof’s achievement, set in a 956 racer.

The 919 Evo was tweaked to deliver more of everything allowed by FIA, including upping the electric energy recovery, boosting the 2-litre, turbo V4 engine from 368kW to 530kW and pushing 323kW out of the front electric motor.

Its custom-built aero package delivered 53% more downforce at the bumpy track and it weighed 39kg less than the car’s race trim.

But Bernhard’s 5:19.55 run hasn’t daunted Moers, who remains confident in the powertrain and aero efficiency of his Project One. "It’s not a production car. Ours is," he said.

Conceived to offer the closest possible thing to an F1 car for the road, the two-seat Project One hybrid is powered by an F1-derived 1.6-litre V6 turbo engine and four electric motors, for a total system output of more than 740kW.